Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Children and young people from service families - Professional learning resource

What is this?

​​This is a professional learning resource designed to support children and young people from families who are in the service of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.

Due to the specific nature and professional remit of members of the armed services, their children may face barriers to their learning including interrupted education and social and emotional needs.

Who is this for?

​This resource is aimed at supporting practitioners who work with children and young people from service/armed forces families and also local authorities.


PDF file: Supporting Learners - Children and young people from service families (960 KB)

​Explore this resource

This resource has been developed using evidence from sources including:

  • HMI inspection of successful approaches, instances of good practice and effective questions;
  • A conversation event that explored the impact on learning of being a child with a service/armed forces family background.

It aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the issues and barriers faced by service families;
  • Support schools and local authorities to develop the capacity to respond to the needs of children and young people from service families;
  • Ensure that the needs of children and young people and their service families are considered and incorporated into the planning of policies, experiences and professional learning opportunities;
  • Support the development of an inclusive, whole school community.

How to use this self-evaluation approach to improve practice

Schools and local authorities will be able to use this resource to reflect and engage in a cycle of self-evaluation and improvement for children and young people who are from service families.

The findings and recommendations will enable practitioners to evaluate and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the military families' experiences and how this can impact on their educational experiences.

For example, military spouses reported increased levels of fear and anxiety in their children when their husbands/wives went to war, and many also reported increased behavioural problems of their children at home.

The regular transitions and changes associated with life as a service family may create added anxiety and emotional stress on both the child and their family.

This resource looks at how efficient transfer of information regarding previous assessments and advice on recommended next steps is essential.

The smooth transfer of assessments and records can help ensure that families do not feel they are ‘starting again’ in the identification of their child’s additional support needs.

Improvement questions

Practitioners, schools and local authorities can use the following reflective questions to evaluate their practice and support for children, young people and service families:

  • How well does our establishment and the wider community support children and young people and their families at times of change such as parental deployment and instances of bereavement and loss, as well as when staff themselves have close family members posted abroad?
  • How well does our transition make reference to children and young people from service families and support both positive arrivals and exits with relevant documentation being forwarded to the new location?
  • How does our assessment policy reflect the needs of children from service families, including those who have newly arrived?
  • How effective are our local authority and school policies and procedures for children and young people with additional support needs arriving in the middle of a school year, when school budgets and resources have already been allocated?